Advice on VM fibre broadband coverage in old house

afcjay

Active Member
Hi all, im looking for advice on trying to get my VM M100 fibre broadband to cover my whole house. The problem i have is being a old building the walls are very thick and solid.
I have just had the vm m100 fibre broadband setup using their quick kit which has what seems to be the old Hub 3 which seems a little odd but thats what i was sent out yesterday

My vm box is at the front of the house but and the hub 3 only came with a 2m fibre cable so the router is sitting where it is with a a small tv and speaker connected to it via ethernet cables.

I have ran a 25m ethernet cable (im not sure if a cat 6 cable is upto it really?) also from the hub 3 to a switch box in my lounge which then feeds various av equipment in the lounge via short ethernet cables and it seems to be doing a job so far.

The problem i have is with the wifi signal in most rooms other than where the hub 3 is as i have various echo dots and lifix bulbs etc all round the house and the lights especially seem to keep dropping connection. I also have no chance of getting a wifi signal at the back of the house either.

So i really need to know what my best option would be without spending more than around £200 if possible to get a strong signal all over the house and in the garden also if possible.

I do have a Asus ac68u i used in place of my old isp router but then that was adsl rather than fibre if that makes and difference and i found it to be a nightmare to set up with my little knowlege when it comes to routers and settings etc

I have read you can use the vm hub 3 in modem mode and connect to the Asus ac68u in another room. Would that gain me great covererage over the whole house and garden or are their better options these days that are easier to set up that will perform alot better than the ac68u as i know its a very old model and am guessing there maybe better options out their? Ive also heard about aimesh but again have no idea what would be my best option? I really need something with ethernet ports because i will be locating it in the lounge at the back of the house and the vm hub3 is at the front of the house.

Any advice would be really appreciated along with any links etc

Tia
 

Kapkirk

Active Member
Did you try disabling the 5Ghz Mode in the VM router, that usually gives you a bit more range at a slightly slower speed. You could also consider another router in repeater mode as a range extender, I used an old Buffalo Air station router with DD-WRT firmware and a high gain antenna to reach over 400m, worked a treat.
 

jimscreechy

Active Member
I don't think you don't really want to use a router in repeater mode since that will be more expensive that just buying an acccesspoint which just has the wifi part without the route bit which you don't need. Yes I agree with @Kapkirk on the theory of your options though, which is extending the range of your Wifi using one method or another.

You could run ethernet (slightly more difficult and involved) to any point where you want to run an access point (AP) or much easier just use range extenders which are relatively cheap easy as pie to install and work reasonably well with the existing wifi so you don't have to cable. You can get kits with multiple range extenders which sounds like what you may need.

There is a lot of talk about "Mesh" systems these days, but this is really just a marketing term and a buzz word everyone seems to be using. Essentially this is really just a way of extending your Wifi, and some of the systems actually employ some rudimentary roaming capabilities too, but certainly not all, so if you do get sold on the Mesh feature, make sure you know what your getting.

There are some more knowledgeable members here who will probably pipe up with additional info that will probably help you on what to get specifically for your issue.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Wi-Fi is a two way radio conversation like walkie-talkies, not a one way radio lecture like televisions. Thusly, making one side of the conversation "louder" ((ie your router) does nothing to fix the transmissions in the other direction.

Wi-Fi works like sound; if two communication peers cannot "hear" each other well enough to maintain a conversation, then you have to improve the signalling conditions by removing the obstructions between them, moving them closer together or both. Since taking down your walls is probably inconvenient you need to move the peers closer together. Since sitting closer to your router is probably inconvenient that leaves the option of deploying more Wi-Fi Access Points (AP's) closer to where the client devices are, and in the process creating a "cellular" pattern of coverage hotspots. On big sites we put up hundreds.

The "trick" with a deployment of multiple Wi-Fi AP's is how we establish the "backhaul" links between the outpost AP's and the rest of the (wired) network. The best backhaul (fastest and most reliable) is achieved with "proper" wired ethernet. Backhaul is also possible using things like HomePlugs/powerline and Wi-Fi itself using things like "Repeaters" (and their cousins "mesh" nodes, though as discussed, "mesh" doesn't really mean anything useful.) However, they are less reliable than ethernet and have performance impacts.

If you have UTP cable in situ, it would be worth assessing the layout of you building and where your UTP goes and see if you have scope to hang some AP's on the ends of some UTP links and whether that will fill in the coverage holes.

Ethernet is good for up to 100m (sometime more) over cat5e of better UTP. It doesn't work any "better" (or worse) because you give it higher cat cables and the speed is not dependent on the cable length.

"Modem mode" is nothing to do with Wi-Fi. You don't need to use Modem Mode to turn off the Wi-Fi on your ISP router. If you don't want to use the ISP routers Wi-Fi, just turn off the Wi-Fi radios - it's rarely more than a couple of clicks. But you don't have to turn of your router's Wi-Fi because you deploy additional AP's.

Wi-Fi is availed by "Access Points" not "routers." This is not hair splitting over nomenclature, in data networking a "router" and an "AP" are very different things. It just so happens that both are included in the ISP supplied "get-you-on-the-Internet" omni-box (and much more besides.) More Wi-Fi need more AP's, not more "routers."

However, if you have and old router lying around, you can "cripple" it in order to turn in into an AP (or and AP/ethernet-switch combo if it's got multiple LAN ports.) How to do so is described in the "Using Two Routers Together" FAQ pinned in this forum.

Thusly, with UTP in situ and an old router to hand, you might be able to deploy a second WI-FI hotspot for nothing which, depending on the layout of your property, may "fix" you problem for free.
 

oneman

Active Member
Install WiFi Analyser on your phone and check multiple spots in various rooms what signal strength is in 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz, what other WiFi networks you can pick up and if there are clashes in channels being used.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Further to what Oneman suggests, if you have an old router (or AP) you could use that to experiment a bit with the assessing positioning of additional AP's.

Take your "spare" router/AP, power it up and give it a different SSID to your main network, then test it out in some alternate locations (it doesn't matter that it has no Internet or network connection, it will still advertise it's Wi-Fi SSID.) Use the sort of survey tool Oneman advocates to see how the transmissions fair in various additional/alternate locations. Don't worry too much about the absolute values of the RSSI (signal strength) readings, what you are looking for is the trend and whether it's "better" than you main router in any given location.
 

afcjay

Active Member
Thank you for all the replys and advice.

I think as i have a spare dsl Asus ac68u dual band 802.11ac wifi adsl/vdsl modem router i set up to replace my old isp adsl router it would make sense to try to use this as a AP connected to my new VM fibre M100 Hub 3 via ethernet cable before looking at other expensive options.

Like i say im not great with setting these up and it gave me a real headache when i used it before but as its not going to cost me anything i may aswell try to set it up again.

I guess i have to do a factory reset on the Asus router and start from scratch again with settings etc

Does anyone have a easy setup guide for setup as a AP, as apart from connecting the Asus ac68u to the VM hub 3 via ethernet cable after a reset i dont really know where to start with settings etc on both the Asus ac68u as a AP via the VM hub 3

Tia
 

oneman

Active Member
The AC68u has a AP mode, if using ethernet for backhaull just plus the backhaull cable into any of the 4 LAN ports and switch to AP mode.

If your main router is Asus as well then you can use Asus Mesh for setting up a Mesh network.
 

afcjay

Active Member
Ok so ive been trying to sort connecting the asus ac68u to the vm hub 3 like i say this kind of stuff frys me a bit.

I dont know how far i am from having it setup correctly but this is what i did

Reset the ap asus ac68u as it was used with my old isp

Kept the 2.4 anf 5ghz channels on the 68u as default and used the same network key password as my new VM hub 3

I went into setup menu on the ac68u and could not find in administration anywhere i could set the AP ac68u to AP mode only.
I did turn dchp off in sttings though.

I have now connected the AP ac68u to my main VM hub3 3 via ethernet cable and when searching for wifi, my isp VM account cones up aswell as Asus 2.4ghz and Asus 5ghz. I can sign into them all using the same password and the ports on the AP ac68u work aswell as the ports on my isp VM hub 3 so it seems ive got both hubs working (connected to each other by ethernet cable and both hubs have working wifi and ports)

Now im stuck 😂😂😂 how can i combine the two hubs to intergrate with each other without having to sign into individual hubs depending on wear i am in the house or do i just leave phones and tablets on auto connect?
The thing im worried about is how different wifi enabled items such as echo dots and lights are going to be on different hubs arnt they? Will it work like this or is there a lot more to it to intergrate the 2 hubs to work smoothly

Like i say i couldnt find in administration anywhere where i could set the AP asus ac68u to AP only???

If anyone could advise where i go from hear it would be much appreciated

Tia
 

afcjay

Active Member
Basically i have the main VM hub 3 wired to the asus as68u via ethernet but cant change the asus ac68u to AP only in the Asus administration settings so i have 4 wifi connections (2.4 and 5ghz on VM and 2.4 and 5ghz on the asus ac68u) although i made the passwords the same i need to find how to make the ac68u a AP rather than a seperate wifi sign in.

In the VM settings it does give the option to make the hub 3 modem only but not sure this is what i need to do rather than find out how to make the ac68u a AP???

Can anyone help

Tia
 

oneman

Active Member
So basically if the SSID and passwords are the same the devices will manage the changing of AP as you move around the house. However in my experience devices hold onto AP even when it can find a stronger one and also you may experience a few seconds of no connectivity as it reconnects to a new AP.

Details to change it to AP here, and also worth updating the firmware as Asus do releases updates,
 

afcjay

Active Member
So basically if the SSID and passwords are the same the devices will manage the changing of AP as you move around the house. However in my experience devices hold onto AP even when it can find a stronger one and also you may experience a few seconds of no connectivity as it reconnects to a new AP.

Details to change it to AP here, and also worth updating the firmware as Asus do releases updates,
Hi, thanks you very much. I was actually trying to use that setup guide when trying to sort it out today but the only problem i had was there was no option in the adminastation tools to change the ac68u to a AP only for some reason?

Like i say i kept the ac68u ssid as default ie asus 2.4 and asus 5ghz but did change the network passwords the same as my main VM hub. Should i have changed the ssid on the ac68u to the same ssid as my main VM hub3?

Many thanks
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
You do not need to use "Modem Mode" on your VM Hub - Modem Mode is nothing to do with Wi-Fi.

To avail Wi-Fi client devices to automatically "roam" (as we call it) between the two routers, the SSID names and the passphrases need to be identical. So it's probably simplest to leave the VM alone and change your ASUS SSID names and passphrase(s) to match you VM.

Don't "worry" if your VM hub has SSID names like "Virgin_something_or_other" - it's just a name that VM have picked by default and it has no relevance to the fact than it's being used by a VM device. You can use the same name and passphrase on your ASUS. (Or indeed make up something completely different that's unique to you for both - though bear in mind that anyone can see SSID, so don't use anything "personal" to you like your address!)

If your VM has two different SSID's - one for the 2.4GHz waveband and one for the the 5GHz waveband - you should use the same names/passphrases in the appropriate waveband in the ASUS. If VM only has one SSID (or more correctly, uses the same SSID/passphrase in both wavebands) again reproduce that in the ASUS and make the SSID/passphrase the same in both wavebands.

Beware of "Big Wi-Fi Myth Number 2" that client devices are always "hunting for the best signal." They do not and some clients need signalling conditions to get pretty grotty before they initiate a roaming assessment as Oneman attests.
 
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afcjay

Active Member
Great, thanks very much im going to change the ssid and passwords now and go from there.
Ive not adjusted anything on the VM hub ie to modem mode but still cant find how to make the ac68u a access point in the Asus amin section it shows on many tutorials for some reason or other? Not sure if this is a must and if so, if there is any other way of doing it in the ac68u settings ?

Many thanks
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
The ability to put your ASUS into "AP mode" depends on whether it's firmware implements such a facility. If it does not, not to worry, we can do it "by hand." We've described how to do so in the "Using Two Routers Together" FAQ pinned in this forum, but the (real) short version is, turn off the DHCP Server (note "Server" not "Client" - it'll have both) in the ASUS (sounds like you already have,) ensure the ASUS LAN IP address does not conflict with anything else in your network (there's a worked example in the FAQ) and cable the routers together using their "LAN" and not their WAN/Internet ports - again, sounds like you've already done that. "AP Mode" (in routers that offer it) typically automates most of that for you with "one click." Functionally, it's no different if you do it by hand.
 
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afcjay

Active Member
Great thank you very much. At the moment im having problems trying to access the ac68u settings for some reason. Its been fine all day 😢
 

afcjay

Active Member
I cant access it using 192.168.1.1 which has been fine all day. Dont know whats going on now.
Earlier when i could access it, it wouldnt let me check for a update. I guess as it wasnt set up correctly?
Now i cant even bring up the asus page using 192.168.1.1. Starting to fry my brain as i dont know why
 

oneman

Active Member
Isn't the default VM network 192.168.0.xxx ? The Asus router has to be on that network preferably on a fixed IP address outside DHCP range.
 

afcjay

Active Member
Ive just gone into my VM hub3 and 5ghz was switched off for some reason but have reactivated it so hopefully i can now access the ac68u 🤕
 

afcjay

Active Member
Isn't the default VM network 192.168.0.xxx ? The Asus router has to be on that network preferably on a fixed IP address outside DHCP range.
Yes the hub 3 is 192.168.xxx

I guess i may have to do this manually some how when i can get back into the 68u as it wont allow me to set it as a AP

Do i just copy the vw ip address into the ac68u? I did switch off dchp on the ac68u earlier, could this be anthing to do with my 5ghz being switched off on my VM hub 3?
 

oneman

Active Member
One step at a time. Reset and then switch off the AC68u and unplug it from your network.

If you are using the default SH setting it will be on 192.168.0.1. log onto the SH and see what DHCP start and end address are. It's probably 192.168.0.10 to 192.168.0.254

I would personally change the end address to 192.168.0.199.

Next download the latest firmware for the AC68u onto a pc or laptop with Ethernet. https://dlcdnets.asus.com/pub/ASUS/wireless/RT-AC68U/FW_RT_AC68U_300438641634.zip

With that pc, plug it into the AC68u and switch the AC68u. Give it a couple of minutes and reboot the PC to get a IP address from the ac68u. It will no longer be connected to the internet. Now on the PC you should be able to access the AC68u on 192.168.1.1

Change the admin password, log back in with new password. Update to latest firmware using the file you already downloaded. Once rebooted after firmware upgrade, switch off DHCP and change it's LAN IP to 192.168.0.2

You can now plug the PC and ac68c back into your network.

Log onto ac68u using 192.168.0.2 and see if you have AP mode
 

afcjay

Active Member
One step at a time. Reset and then switch off the AC68u and unplug it from your network.

If you are using the default SH setting it will be on 192.168.0.1. log onto the SH and see what DHCP start and end address are. It's probably 192.168.0.10 to 192.168.0.254

I would personally change the end address to 192.168.0.199.

Next download the latest firmware for the AC68u onto a pc or laptop with Ethernet. https://dlcdnets.asus.com/pub/ASUS/wireless/RT-AC68U/FW_RT_AC68U_300438641634.zip

With that pc, plug it into the AC68u and switch the AC68u. Give it a couple of minutes and reboot the PC to get a IP address from the ac68u. It will no longer be connected to the internet. Now on the PC you should be able to access the AC68u on 192.168.1.1

Change the admin password, log back in with new password. Update to latest firmware using the file you already downloaded. Once rebooted after firmware upgrade, switch off DHCP and change it's LAN IP to 192.168.0.2

You can now plug the PC and ac68c back into your network.

Log onto ac68u using 192.168.0.2 and see if you have AP mode
Thank you very much oneman. Its been a long day so i will follow your advice tomorrow and hopefully have everything up and running. Once again many thanks, you just saved the laptop and ac68u from going out the window as it was getting rather frustrating 😂
 

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